Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sustainable Sunday: House Alive!

So one goal I have set for this blog is to shine a spotlight on businesses that promote recycling, sustainability, permaculture, and homesteading. These will mostly be local or regional to Jason and I in Corvallis unless we are traveling. There are plenty to choose from here!

Last summer Jason decided he was going to take a natural building workshop. We'd returned from New Zealand having spent a week learning from people through the WWOOF program and he wanted more. He spent some time online looking for programs and found House Alive!

Situated in the wooded hills outside of Jacksonville, OR, House Alive! is a program run by Coenraad Rogmans. Jason chose to attend a course there because it not only covered building with cob, but other natural building techniques as well as use of greywater systems, photovoltaic electricity and passive solar. He opted to take the "Incredible Cob: The Complete Shelter" - an 8-day workshop.

Jason's time at House Alive! was vibrant and exciting. He felt it was a great balance between hands on work and theory. He learned a lot while camping in a scenic area and eating wholesome and delicious vegetarian fare. Upon returning home I heard tales of beautiful buildings, innovative ways to build sustainable homes, and kindness from Coenraad and his family.

Beyond hosting workshops on his property, Coenraad also takes his show on the road, doing workshops and internship opportunities in places like Mexico and South Dakota. Thus far, the 2011 schedule includes an 8-day workshop and an internship at Full Bloom Farms in Jacksonville.

Jason and I went down to Jacksonville this weekend to visit Coenraad and his family. We stayed in this lovely cabin.

The property is beautiful and covered in cob and hybrid buildings as well as a man-made pond, cob oven, and plenty of garden space. Coenraad and his family were wonderfully hospitable, fed us well, and shared with us some great ideas and philosophies. Here is a pic from the House Alive! website of their living room.

Jason and I were invited to tour the property. We saw the sauna, worksheds, greenhouses, and the inside of this cabin. I LOVE the desk pictured here!

I will say finally that not only is Coenraad an excellent teacher, but he truly lives the principals he shares with others. I want to thank him and his family for a great time!

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